Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations (FICA) CEO, Tim May described the process surrounding the decision whether Bangladesh should tour Pakistan as a chaotic and contradictory one that only has added to player apprehension re touring Pakistan.
“As the peak body of Player Associations, of which the Cricketers Welfare Association of Bangladesh (CWAB) are full members, FICA consider the matter of Player Safety as paramount in the consideration of whether any Event or series should proceed.
“This decision of whether Bangladesh should tour Pakistan needed to be a concise and transparent process. Unfortunately all we have witnessed is seemingly a complete lack of any process and a series of indecisive and contradictory comments, particularly coming from the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) President Mustafa Kamal.
“The actions and words of Mr Kamal certainly give the impression of confirming rumors that there has been a deal reached between Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and Mr Kamal, that PCB will nominate Mr Kamal for the position of ICC Vice President if Bangladesh agrees to tour Pakistan.
“What has resulted since has been a series of actions and comments that rather than reassure everyone of the safety of such a tour, have only created heightened apprehensions and doubts amongst players re the safety of the tour and the motives of those involved in the decision.
Examples of the indecision and contradictory comments are detailed below
The PCB Security Plans
- March 2012 A ten man BCB delegation from Bangladesh visited Pakistan on March to review the security plans for the Tour
- March 4 2012 Mr Kamal at the completion of the security visit, concluded that the delegation was satisfied with the security arrangement “”After seeing all the security arrangements all of us agree and are satisfied that the security infrastructure is in place”
- March 2012 – ICC requested details of the security plans – As of April 17 neither PCB or BCB has supplied any security plans to ICC.
- April 16, 2012 – A PCB spokesman confirmed that it had not met with the Punjab Government to finalise or confirm the security arrangements
ICC decision whether to appoint neutral Umpires
- Following the March security delegation visit to Pakistan, Mr Kamal confirmed that Bangladesh would send a team to tour Pakistan
- Following his return to Bangladesh, Mr Kamal retracted this confirmation, and was reported to have stated that it would only send a team to tour Pakistan, if the ICC would send neutral umpires.
- Following the change of heart by Mr Kamal, on March 19, PCB Chairman, Zaka Khan was quoted ““The PCB will review it’s relation with Bangladesh if they refuse to tour Pakistan”
- At the ICC Executive Meeting on 15 April, Kamal advised the ICC Board that even if ICC decided not to send neutral umpires, Bangladesh would tour Pakistan.
- According to media reports in Dhaka, following the ICC meeting, Kamal then stated that Bangladesh would only send a team if the ICC sent neutral umpires
“The constantly changing positions from Mr Kamal about whether to send a team or not if the ICC decide not to send neutral umpires is hardly a sign of confidence that the BCB actually does believe that it is safe to tour” May added
“As an interested party with a primary interest in the safety of players, its difficult for FICA to see how the BCB was able to sign off on the security arrangements in March when as recently as this week, by the PCB’s own admission, the PCB still hasn’t finalized or confirmed arrangements with the Punjab Government”
“In order to address player apprehension it is important that a process of this nature is transparent and involves those who will be taking the greatest risks ( players and team officials) .
“Given that the PCB have been told by the ICC for a significant period of time that it needed to reassure players that it is safe to return to Pakistan, it is extraordinary , that players or their Player Association, CWAB, were not invited to the security review in March and have been excluded from this whole security review process”
“Such exclusion only heightens suspicions regarding the adequacy of arrangements”
“The players’ safety, and the safety of the people around them, should be all that matters in this issue and the only factor taken into account when deciding whether to tour or not
“Players safety should not be put at risk to enhance someone’s political or other aspirations.
“The BCB President has a massive conflict of interest. The matter should not be decided by Mr Kamal alone, it should be a decision of the entire BCB Board – after all the directors of the Board will be exposed to a significant potential liability if issues arise during the tour.
“One would expect that a person who holds the responsibility of the BCB president and also of an ICC Director would address the “conflict of interest and remove himself from any decision in this matter
“What’s required is not a stumbling, non-transparent and conflicted approach to this issue , but a proper fully transparent independent report on the safety of playing in the country.
“Only then will players feel comfortable contemplating whether it is time to play International cricket again in Pakistan.